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The Tradition Of Eating Hot Cross Buns On Easter

By March 26, 2018May 28th, 2019No Comments
hot cross buns
Marshmallow bunnies, chocolate eggs, roast leg of lamb, ham, and hard boiled eggs are some of the special foods we enjoy during Easter celebrations. However, the dish that really stands out are the traditional hot cross buns.

What are hot cross buns?

These special pastries were once only sold and served on the holiday of Good Friday. Today, people buy and enjoy them throughout the year. A hot cross bun is a yeast roll that is seasoned with spices, with currents or raisins added to the dough. Some people make the buns with a cross etched in the dough, with others pipe frosting on the top in the shape of a cross.

There is not a clear story about how hot cross buns originated. There are several stories about these iconic pastries, and some are even tall tales. Many theories focus on the Christian symbolism surrounding the buns and tales about how people eat them during the season of Lent or only on Good Friday. The following are some of the accounts that are commonly told about hot cross buns.

A 12th century monk is responsible for the cross on the bun

It is possible that the origins of this pastry go back as far as the 1100’s. One story tells of an Anglican Monk who put the shape of a cross on the top of the buns in honor of Good Friday. They eventually became a symbol of Easter and became very popular.

Hot cross buns, their popularity, and Elizabethan law

The sale of sweet buns was limited to Christmas, funerals, and the Friday preceding Easter according to a law passed by the queen Elizabeth I. Her law took effect at the end of the 1500’s, and was based on superstitions of the time. The English people believed that hot cross buns had magical properties or medicinal qualities, so they were afraid of abuse of these powers. There was a belief at that time that if you baked buns on Good Friday, they would stay fresh and never get stale.

People found a way around the law by baking the buns at home. More and more citizens did this not only because they liked the hot cross buns, but because it was the easiest way around the law. Eventually, the law was rescinded.

Other legends about hot cross buns

Many stories about this food being baked on Good Friday are steeped in superstition. One tale instructs believers to bake the hot cross buns and hang them from the ceiling in their home. They believed this would keep away evil spirits over the next year. Another story said that if the buns were taken on-board a ship, they would protect the sailors from shipwrecks. Guaranteed friendship over the next year was promised if you shared a hot cross bun with a loved one as well.

Whether or not you believe in tales about hot cross buns, these are a delicious treat to enjoy for Easter. At Belmar Bakery in Amarillo, Texas, we offer hot cross buns for your Easter celebrations. If you are in need of a custom dessert for your event, call us today at (806) 355-0141 or Contact Us via email. You can also fill out our online form for a personal Cake Quote. We offer a line of grab and go desserts and food options, including Breakfast and Lunch and Party Trays. Visit us at 3325 Bell Street in Amarillo to see the delicious foods we have to offer.